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Sabemos Aguantar: Living with and Leaving Behind the Violence of Everyday Life

Amelia Frank-Vitale, PLAS Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University

September 14, 2021 · 5:00 pm6:30 pm · Virtual (Zoom link to be sent to those who register)

Program in Latin American Studies

In this talk, Amelia Frank-Vitale will explore the Honduran usage of the term aguantar (roughly, “endure”), to examine how people understand their own mechanisms for survival in a city considered to be among the world’s most violent. While scholars have developed multiple ways to discuss how people survive – and often thrive – in situations of great hardship, she suggests aguantar specifically in contrast to the idea of “resilience” that is frequently deployed in Honduras and elsewhere by international humanitarian and development organizations. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork conducted in San Pedro Sula and among Honduran migrants in transit through Mexico, Frank-Vitale uses aguantar to argue that migration must be understood as driven by both aspiration and desperation. Attempting to migrate out of Honduras is at once a way to exercise agency – to break out of a delimited life – and a relinquishing of agency, a kind of giving up, when one simply can no longer aguantar.

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